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I dumped the E.T. cartridges, says former Atari man

"There is no mystery whatsoever"

An Idaho resident has claimed he was put in charge of burying some 750,000 unsold Atari cartridges, many of which were the notorious E.T. game, back in September 1983.

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James Heller of Nampa, Idaho, says he poured cement on the burial after gamers began to raid it

James Heller of Nampa, Idaho says he worked for Atari when the corporation allegedly asked him to empty a manufacturing plant of some 750,000 unsold games located in El Paso, Texas.

Heller chose to dump the cartridges in a New Mexico landfill because of costs and convenience, he said.

"I had been charged with getting rid of it as quickly and inexpensively as possible and so I did. That was my job," Heller said in a filmed interview with local news network KBOI2.

The infamous Atari games burial evolved into an urban legend that was passed on for more than thirty years, until it was proven to be true during an excavation that took place in March.

Thousands of unsold copies of E.T. became a symbol of the games industry crash which rocked the business back in the early eighties.

It was previously assumed that E.T. was the sole game buried at the New Mexico landfill, but numerous other Atari 2600 titles such as Missile Command and Centipede were found.

Heller said that young people began to raid the dump to claim free games, so he poured six trucks' worth of cement onto the burial.

He adds that, for all the mysteries and conspiracy theories that surround the E.T. burial, the truth was merely a man doing what he was told.

"There is no mystery whatsoever. People made it a mystery," Heller said.

The Atari games excavation is the subject of a documentary to be aired on the Xbox platform. Some 250 unearthed games have been given to film crew, while the rest will be sold by the City of Alamogordo.

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